here - College of Education and Human Development


Purpose Structure of Visit

 Purpose: Review and comment on George Mason

University College of Education and Human Development operations and policies for supporting research and securing external funding

 Structure of Visit:

 Meetings with Dean, Associate Dean for Research, CHED

Research Support Staff, Executive Team, Leadership Team,

College of HHS Associate Dean for Research, Staff from

Office of Sponsored Programs, Groups of CEHS faculty

 Review of information on CEHD web site

 Discussion of initial comments with Executive Team and

Leadership Team

General Questions

Addressed in Meetings

 What are structures, procedures, and policies that have been helpful in supporting research and securing external funding? Are there ways in which these should be strengthened or expanded?

 What are issues or challenges in conducting research or securing external support that need to be addressed? What changes in structures, procedures, and policies might help to address these?

Important Contextual


 The press for increased emphasis on research has come recently; many faculty were hired and tenured when research productivity was less important

 GMU general fund budgets are tightly coupled to production of student credit hours, increasing the importance of in making decisions about faculty hiring and faculty load

 Most GMU CEHD doctoral students are part-time; graduation rate is low

 Faculty in GMU CEHD are located on more than one campus


 Comments are addressed to the issue of support for doing

research and securing external funding; in considering these comments, the college community will also need to consider how these interact with other college goals and missions.

 Consequently, “strength” should be taken to mean

“strength in support for research and external funding”; likewise for “recommendations”

 Some comments take the form of specific recommendations; others identify options to consider, or issues that deserve discussion within CEHD community


 Emphasis on likely success in research or gaining external funding in recent faculty searches; having faculty with strong interests in these areas is key

 Availability of editors and reviewers for proposals

 Recent addition of staff to provide post-award assistance

 Indirect cost return and salary savings return policies that provide incentives for faculty to secure outside funding

Strengths (continued)

 Informative research office web site, including policy statements, descriptions of procedures, links to funding sources

 Research office provides some help with initial proposal and budget development (better than nothing, but this is an area where additional investment would be helpful)

 Overall level of external funding reasonably good, given that emphasis on research and external support is a recent change in policy

Recommendations and

Areas for Discussion -1

 Continue to emphasize likely contributions in research and external support in faculty searches

 Consider a range of approaches to increasing number of senior faculty with excellent records of research and grant getting

 Targeted hires at senior level

 Stronger incentives and professional development for current senior faculty to increase research activity

 Nurture research-active junior faculty & prepare them to take leading roles

Recommendations and

Areas for Discussion - 2

 Consider how to make strategic use of full range of resources to promote increases in research. Strategic use implies selection of investments based on likely payoff in excellent research or successful grant applications.

Decisions about criteria for investment will likely affect results. Resources include:

 Indirect cost return and faculty salary savings – including both what is currently available centrally and what currently goes to faculty

 General fund support for graduate assistants

 General fund resources to support faculty travel

 Develop multi-year plan for increasing research activity, including, but not entirely driven by, plans for student credit hour production

Recommendations and

Areas for Discussion - 3

 Organize discussions and communications to clarify goals and trajectory for increases in research and external support

 To strength research enterprise, goals should push for increase in research that will build faculty careers

and visibility, not merely increasing amount of external funding (But note that this may require some faculty adjustments in focus, in light of possibilities for external support)

Recommendations and

Areas for Discussion - 4

 Consider the role of doctoral programs and doctoral students in research

 Research-oriented doctoral students can be valuable part of faculty research projects

 Full-time students have more flexibility to work on research projects than part-time students

 Competing for top doctoral students probably requires multi-year commitments of support that allows students to go full time

Recommendations and

Areas for Discussion - 5

 Consider where faculty leadership for research will be located.

 A large and diverse college requires having several senior faculty providing leadership, rather than placing all responsibility for support and mentoring with one person

 Leadership includes mentoring and advice, but also includes targeted encouragement to pursue opportunities

Recommendations and

Areas for Discussion - 6

 Possible locations for faculty leadership

 Division directors

 Center directors

 Research associate dean

 Other

Recommendations and

Areas for Discussion - 7

 Some smaller scale, but important, recommendations

 Follow through on plans, supported by OSP, to have more pre-award support in the college. The rationale here is facilitate communication with PI as proposal is prepared and submitted

 Encourage faculty to start earlier in proposal preparation

 Encourage faculty to meet with funder program officers, as appropriate